Anthropology is a contemporary social science that bridges both the natural sciences and humanities in order to examine human diversity in the past and present and the profoundly different ways in which social groups interpret and inhabit an increasingly complex world. Our program is characterized by an emphasis on fieldwork, built into the department's methods courses, and is encouraged in student work abroad. We cover anthropology's subfields of cultural anthropology, biological anthropology and archaeology, each characterized by unique approaches, yet all oriented toward understanding and informing contemporary debates about the diversity of human experience in a wide range of societies.
Anthropology at Dickinson teaches students the process of doing anthropological research through fieldwork and laboratory research. Ethnographic fieldwork—observing and interacting intimately with people in a social setting over an extended period of time—is one of anthropology's distinctive contributions to the human sciences. In coursework and our department's ethnographic field schools, students familiarize themselves with fieldwork by conducting local and international projects that they may later develop into senior thesis papers. In addition to fieldwork experiences, the anthropology department at Dickinson has a state-of-the-art laboratory where students engage in experiential learning about human evolution, osteology and biological diversity. The lab is also a facility where students can develop their use of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of Dickinson's many study abroad programs, where they can practice their fieldwork skills for senior papers and presentation at conferences.
Anthropology at Dickinson emphasizes the use of knowledge for active participation in the world. Students leave the anthropology program fully prepared for graduate school, for public and nonprofit sector work, and for any form of business or professional work that requires critical-thinking skills and understanding of cultural differences. Whatever they do in life, students of anthropology will have gained a firm foundation to stand on as they navigate their way through our own society as well as the global society.